Clerk of the House of Representatives
The principal permanent officer of the House is the Clerk of the House of Representatives. The Clerk is appointed by warrant by the Governor-General, on the recommendation of the Speaker made after consultation with the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and such other members as the Speaker considers desirable.
A Deputy Clerk is appointed in the same manner as the Clerk.
The Clerk notes all proceedings in the House; provides procedural advice to the Speaker and other members, and is responsible (subject to the Speaker’s overriding responsibility) for all parliamentary printing such as the order paper, the journals, select committee reports and the official report of parliamentary debates, and for preparing and presenting copies of bills which have been passed by the House to the Governor-General for the Royal assent. The Clerk is the principal officer (chief executive) of the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives.
When Parliament first meets after a general election, the Clerk administers the oath or affirmation to members and presides over the House for the election of a Speaker. Statute and the Standing Orders impose a number of other specific duties and functions on the Clerk. The Clerk has custody of all ballot papers used in general elections and by-elections, and is responsible, along with the Chief Electoral Officer, for destroying them after they have been held for six months.
The Clerk is also responsible for certifying that many of the procedures necessary in the promotion of a citizens’-initiated referendum have been followed. (See Chapter 41.) The Clerk may delegate any statutory or Standing Orders functions or powers to the Deputy Clerk or another officer of the House.
(The Clerk’s functions of determining the precise form of an indicative referendum petition and certifying whether the petition has been signed by a sufficient number of eligible electors may only be delegated to the Deputy Clerk.
) The Deputy Clerk or a person appointed by the Speaker to act as Clerk may also perform the Clerk’s Standing Orders functions.
Office of the Clerk
The office of state supporting the Clerk of the House in the discharge of the Clerk’s functions is known as the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. The Clerk is responsible to the Speaker, on behalf of the House, for the efficient, effective and economical management of the Office.
Although not a government department, and therefore not part of the public service, the Office of the Clerk administers a vote containing appropriations for outputs associated with its activities. The Speaker is the responsible Minister for the vote which is administered in the same way as a vote administered by a government department.
The administrative and support services provided to the House by the Office and the funding for those services are subject to a triennial review by a committee appointed by the Speaker.
Staff are appointed to the Office of the Clerk by the Clerk of the House and are employed under employment agreements negotiated with the Clerk. The Office is organised into four main divisions—
•a House Office, which provides support for the sittings of the House by producing the journals and scrutinising petitions and questions (through the Table Office) and distributing parliamentary papers, order papers and bills (through the Bills Office); the House Office also arranges the presentation of bills for the Royal assent, co-ordinates the Office of the Clerk’s contribution to parliamentary education programmes and manages inter-parliamentary relations
•a Select Committee Office, which provides the staff and administrative and support services for the meetings of select committees
•Reporting Services, which is responsible for producing the official report of parliamentary debates (Hansard), parliamentary broadcasting and translation and interpretation services and maintaining the Office’s website
•a Corporate Office, which provides information services, human resources and financial management support.
The Clerk is responsible for noting all the proceedings of the House by recording every motion considered by the House and the decision reached on it. The Clerk also records any other items of business transacted by the House, such as the presentation of a petition or the answering of questions; recording not what was said by individual members in a speech but what the House as a whole has decided. A similar note of the proceedings is maintained when the House goes into a committee of the whole House. The rough notes of proceedings made in the House are elaborated later and constitute the journals of the House, which are published by the Clerk.
Currently the journal is published on a weekly basis (as part of the Parliamentary Bulletin) and assembled at the end of each session into a sessional volume or volumes. The journal of the House is the official record of the proceedings of the House. It provides at least presumptive evidence of the business transacted by the House.
Schedules are also compiled and bound with the journal, showing in a tabular form details of legislation dealt with by the House, papers and petitions presented to it, and select committees appointed. An appendix to the journal published from 1858 to 1999 contains select committee reports and other reports published by order of the House (Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives). (From 1854 to 1856 the journals and reports presented to the House were bound in one publication known as the Votes and Proceedings.) Since 1999, reports published by order of the House are published in an annual series, Parliamentary Papers. An appendix to the journal continues to be published but is confined to specifically parliamentary material such as select committee reports. (See Chapter 38.)
The Clerk has custody of the journals and of all petitions and papers presented to the House and other records belonging to the House. These documents must not be taken from the House without the House’s or the Speaker’s permission.
The documents in the Clerk’s custody include all evidence presented to select committees, which must be handed over to the Clerk when the committee’s report is presented unless the House instructs a committee to retain confidential evidence in its own possession.
The House’s papers and records as held by the Clerk can be seen by any member. Subject to any order of the House, they are also regarded as public documents and will be made available to other persons unless this would be contrary to the law. This would be the case, for instance, if a document was subject to a court order protecting its confidentiality or if it contained obviously defamatory material not protected by an order of the House. In these circumstances the Clerk would not disseminate the document beyond members.
Occasionally the House directs the Clerk not to disclose material in the Clerk’s custody to any person,
and secret evidence in any event remains confidential unless the House authorises its release.
The Clerk also protects the material from possible damage or destruction and endeavours to maintain the privacy of personal information held. The Clerk must retain the original of all papers and records for at least three years before they may be disposed of.
The Chief Archivist may accept parliamentary records for deposit in Archives New Zealand.
Accordingly, before disposing of such documents, the Clerk must consult with the Chief Archivist.
Conditions for the deposit of parliamentary records may be agreed between the Clerk and the Chief Archivist.
An archiving policy has been agreed with Archives New Zealand providing for the transfer to it of parliamentary materials at the expiration of varying periods depending upon the class of documents involved and for the destruction of materials which are available in other forms. Parliamentary records (or any other records) do not become subject to the Official Information Act merely because they have been deposited with Archives New Zealand.
Serjeant-at-Arms and the mace
The Serjeant-at-Arms is the officer of the House who is responsible for ensuring that visitors (known as strangers) admitted to the Chamber do not misbehave. For this purpose the Serjeant may require strangers who interrupt proceedings or who otherwise misconduct themselves in the galleries to leave.
The Serjeant-at-Arms was originally a Royal officer with the power to arrest without warrant. The House of Commons in the fifteenth century induced the Crown to appoint such an officer to the House to enable it to order the arrest of persons who offended against its privileges. The symbol of the Serjeant’s authority to arrest was the Mace he carried. In time the Mace came to be regarded as the formal corporate symbol of the authority of the House. To avoid removing the Mace from the House when an offender was ordered to be arrested, the Speaker began to issue warrants of arrest. Offenders are now arrested under the Speaker’s warrant rather than by the authority of the Mace.
The Serjeant-at-Arms is appointed by the Crown on the recommendation of the Speaker. Any person may perform the functions and exercise the powers of Serjeant at the direction of the Speaker.
The Speaker authorises a number of officers employed in the Parliamentary Service to perform the duties of Serjeant.
The Serjeant-at-Arms precedes the Speaker in the Speaker’s formal procession, carrying the Mace on the shoulder to and from the House at the beginning and end of each sitting, and also when the Speaker visits Government House to seek confirmation of election as Speaker (in this case, the Mace is held in the crook of the Serjeant’s arm until the Governor-General’s confirmation is forthcoming) and to present any address from the House. During a sitting with the Speaker or one of the Speaker’s deputies in the chair, the Mace remains on the Table of the House. When the Speaker leaves the chair for the House to go into a committee of the whole House, the Mace is placed under the Table.
While the Mace has become a corporate symbol of the House in New Zealand as well as in the United Kingdom, it is no more than that. The House had no Mace at all for the first 12 years of its existence, and although the absence of a Mace is not usual, it does not prejudice the continued sitting of the House or affect the validity of anything done at that sitting.
The first Mace was presented to the House by its first Speaker, Sir Charles Clifford, in 1866, and was destroyed in the Parliament House fire of 1907. A temporary wooden mace was then used until, on 7 October 1909, the present Mace was donated to the House by the Prime Minister, Sir Joseph Ward, and his Cabinet. This mace was ordered from England at the Ministers’ own expense. The Mace, which is a replica of the one used in the House of Commons, is made of silver gilded with 18 carat gold. It is 1.498 metres long and weighs 8.164 kilograms.
Reporting of debates
When the House first met in 1854 there were no arrangements for the official reporting of debates. Debates were then, however, reported in the colony’s newspapers in much greater detail than is the case today, and to assist the press some members took notes of speeches delivered by their friends which were later revised and submitted for publication.
Despite this there were numerous complaints from members of inaccurate reporting of speeches, and several times over the next 12 years the House expressed its view that full and accurate reports of its debates should be published under its authority. These demands became more insistent when Parliament moved from Auckland to Wellington, for members were extremely dubious of the capability of the Wellington press to report proceedings adequately. At the start of the 1867 session, the Government (on its own initiative) appointed an editor and a reporting staff to take down and report the speeches made in both the House and the Legislative Council.
The control of this staff and the arrangements for the publication of the debates were at first placed in the hands of a select committee composed of members of both Houses.
The expression Hansard derives from the name of the family responsible for arranging the private and official reporting of the British Parliament throughout most of the nineteenth century. The term was already widely used at the time official reports began in New Zealand, and is now used as a shorthand expression for the official report of parliamentary debates.
In 1885 the pre-Hansard parliamentary debates from 1854 to 1866 were published in an official series. All living members who could be traced were asked to supply any collected reports of speeches in their possession. Newspaper reports of speeches were consulted, as was the official record of proceedings made by the Clerk in the Votes and Proceedings and the journals. Even so, many of the speeches made in the two Houses during this period were wholly lost or could be recorded only in a much abbreviated form.
An official report of debates is authorised to be made of such portions of the proceedings of the House and its committees as the House or Speaker determines.
The Clerk of the House is responsible for the making of the official report
and the staff engaged on this work are employed in the Office of the Clerk. Since 1996 all proceedings in committees of the whole House have been reported (previously only some 10 percent of proceedings were reported). Select committee proceedings are not reported comprehensively, although a recording of evidence is often taken and such recordings may be transcribed and published.
Secret sessions and sittings or parts of sittings from which strangers have been excluded are not reported.
Form of the report
The form of the Hansard report is determined from time to time by the House or the Speaker.
Hansard is a report of speeches made in the House, not necessarily of all the business transacted there. A full record of the business transacted by the House, but without any of the reasons as expressed in speeches, is made by the Clerk for inclusion in the House’s journals. If an item of business does not elicit any debate or words spoken about it, it may not be noted in Hansard at all, as happens, for example, with the presentation of petitions and papers.
Speeches are transcribed directly from digital recordings of the debate, with staff present in the Chamber beyond the Table of the House to monitor the debate by recording the sequence of speakers and any interjections. A transcript of the report is submitted to each member for correction, usually within two to three hours of the speech being made. The Hansard report is a report in direct speech of all speeches made in the House, sub-edited to omit repetitions and redundancies. Members are tied to what they have said in the House and may make only minor or grammatical alterations to the report. The meaning or substance of what was said cannot be altered in any way, though occasionally there may be controversy as to whether this has occurred.
The Clerk may bring to the Speaker’s attention any attempt by a member to make extensive corrections to the transcript.
Interjections are reported only if the member speaking replies to them or remarks on them during the course of his or her speech.
If the Hansard staff cannot identify the interjector themselves but have to rely on what they are told, they can confirm directly with the member that he or she was the source of the interjection.
Maps, documents, photographs, pictures or cartoons cannot be inserted in Hansard except by resolution of the House.
Nor does Hansard record which member objected if a request for leave is refused.
The Standing Orders formerly required that replies to written questions be recorded in Hansard. For this purpose a separate Hansard publication (known as the Hansard Supplement) was published from 1989 to 2002. Written replies are no longer published in Hansard.
Occasionally the House has (on notice having been given) ordered proceedings not to be reported in Hansard, as when the debate on the second reading of a bill (which had taken place the previous day and had been recorded by the Hansard reporters) was ordered not to be published.
In respect of speeches or parts of speeches given in Māori, an official English translation is published.
Like all speeches published in Hansard, the translation is subject to the approval of the member who gave the speech.
(See Chapter 16 for the translation of speeches.)
Hansard is published by order of the House.
An uncorrected transcript of each day’s oral question period is available on the Office of the Clerk’s website approximately two hours after the end of question time.
A corrected daily Hansard is available in print to members approximately one week after the debate takes place, and the daily reports are combined into publications with a pink cover (the Hansard “pinks”), containing one week’s reports, for sale through bookshops. There is no copyright in Hansard.
Following a select committee recommendation, up to 25 copies of each Hansard pink are made available free to each member.
The pinks are bound into volumes and these volumes are numbered consecutively, beginning with number one in 1867. They are usually cited by the year, volume and page number. The official series of debates compiled for the years 1854–66 contains one or more sessions to each volume. Hansard is also available for public internet access.
Parliamentary press gallery
The gallery immediately above and behind the Speaker’s chair is reserved for the use of accredited members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery. These members are representatives of newspapers, news agencies, radio stations and television channels supplying parliamentary news from within the Parliament buildings. Membership of the Parliamentary Press Gallery is granted by the Speaker on application by the chairperson of the Press Gallery (a member of the gallery elected by the other members).
As well as admittance to the press gallery in the Chamber itself, Press Gallery members may be provided with office accommodation and other facilities in Parliament House subject to rules made by the Speaker. Telephone rental and toll charges are payable by the news organisations represented in the Press Gallery. Members of the Press Gallery are permitted to dine at Bellamy’s and to use the Parliamentary Library.
Press Gallery members may make a record of the proceedings in the House and at select committees, subject to control by the House, the Speaker or the committee concerned. The Press Gallery is subject to the general control of the Speaker, who from time to time makes rules for its members.
Broadcasting of proceedings
The House of Representatives was the first legislative chamber in the Commonwealth to have its debates broadcast. The first proceeding to be broadcast was the election of the Speaker on 25 March 1936.
Continuous sound broadcasts of the proceedings are made by Radio New Zealand Limited on its AM network as a condition of holding the licence for that network.
The conditions under which the broadcast is made are agreed between Radio New Zealand Limited and the Clerk of the House. Payments are made by the Office of the Clerk to reimburse Radio New Zealand Limited for the cost of providing the service.
The Standing Orders provide for the House’s proceedings to be broadcast on radio during all hours of sitting.
But the occasional breakdown in a transmission does not affect the continuation of the sitting.
Broadcasting is discontinued during any period for which strangers have been ordered to withdraw from the Chamber.
A microphone is attached to each desk in the Chamber, and microphones are provided at the Speaker’s chair and the Clerk’s seat at the Table. The microphones at the chair and at the Table are continuously “live” subject to a mute button by which they can be controlled by the presiding officer. The control of the other microphones is in the hands of a technician who observes proceedings from a booth at the far end of the Chamber. A member’s microphone is activated by the technician when that member is called to speak by the Speaker. This system, introduced in 1975 to replace microphones suspended from the ceiling throughout the Chamber, was an endeavour to improve the quality of the broadcast by concentrating on the member speaking and cutting out background noise in the Chamber.
The parliamentary broadcast provides a strong primary signal to some percent of the population. In secondary reception areas, listeners with a good-quality receiver or external aid should receive reliable reception. The broadcast is available to about 75 percent of the population if both primary and secondary areas are included.
The live radio broadcast, as an extension of the debates in the House, is absolutely protected against legal liability arising in defamation.
The restriction on any unauthorised publication of a report or account of an inquiry before the Inspector-General of Security and Intelligence does not apply in respect of the broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings.
In 1979, following a favourable recommendation by the Standing Orders Committee,
the practice began of using extracts from the parliamentary sound broadcast in news and current affairs programmes on radio and television. The use of such an extract from a speech has now become commonplace. In 1982 Radio New Zealand Limited, with the Speaker’s concurrence, began to preserve material from the parliamentary broadcast in its sound archive. Since 1994, daily and weekly programmes summarising the work of the House have been broadcast on Radio New Zealand using funding provided by the Office of the Clerk.
The proceedings at the opening of Parliament were first televised in 1962
and are now regularly broadcast on television. In 1986 the House held an experimental telecast over the course of a week, during which its proceedings up to the end of question time were transmitted live to air and the remainder of the sitting was filmed and recorded and used for news programmes. Television cameras were subsequently admitted to the Chamber on special occasions, such as for the delivery of the Budget. In 1989 the Standing Orders Committee in a report to the House recommended that the proceedings of the House should be made available for television coverage. This recommendation has been reflected in the Standing Orders.
Any bona fide broadcaster may film in the Chamber.
The Serjeant-at-Arms should be informed beforehand so that any necessary administrative arrangements can be made, but formal permission is not necessary.
Any television broadcast of the House must maintain such standards of fairness as are adopted from time to time by the House.
Such a broadcast must also conform with general broadcasting standards. The House itself has not formally defined any rules for televising its proceedings, though the Speaker, drawing on past select committee recommendations, has done so.
The conditions under which the House may be broadcast are
•the broadcaster can decide which portions of the proceedings to film
•coverage should be medium range, concentrating on the Speaker and the member who has the call; this means a head and shoulders shot of the member with the call, not a close-up
•an occasional general, wide-angle shot of the Chamber gradually returning to focus on the member speaking may be made
•interjections and interruptions from the gallery should not be covered (such incidents may be reported and tape of them used in legal proceedings
•panning of the Chamber and close-ups are not allowed
•no extraneous matter, for example, graphics, other than the name of the member speaking, may be included in any broadcast.
The Serjeant-at-Arms will intervene if it becomes apparent that filming is occurring outside the rules. Broadcasters who offend against the rules may have their privilege of filming in the Chamber withdrawn. On one occasion when a complaint was made to the Speaker that a television news item had juxtaposed two statements by members made on different days so as to suggest that they were a direct exchange on the same day, the Speaker received a letter from the television company acknowledging its mistake and apologising for the error.
On another occasion when a television company deliberately broke the rules by filming a member who did not have the call, that company’s operators were excluded from the Chamber for one week.
In 2000 a satellite broadcaster began to transmit the House’s proceedings live on one of its news channels each day until the end of question time, with rebroadcasts in the evening.
The question of the House providing its own television broadcast of its proceedings has been discussed for two decades. In 2003 the Standing Orders Committee agreed that this be done under contract with a suitable contractor, providing a feed free to any broadcasters.
In 2004 the Government responded favourably to this recommendation and work commenced on a project to establish such a facility.
A live broadcast of the House is absolutely protected against legal liability arising in defamation.
The restriction on any unauthorised publication of a report or account of an inquiry before the Inspector-General of Security and Intelligence does not apply in respect of the televising of Parliament.
Televising meetings of select committees is a matter for each individual committee to address. If the committee agrees, its proceedings can be filmed.
Stills photographs of the House at work exist from the nineteenth century, but they were still relatively exceptional, except on Budget day, until comparatively recently.
The liberalisation in regard to televising the House that has occurred since 1990 led to complaints that stills photographers were at a disadvantage compared to television broadcasters in that, while the latter had an open permission to film proceedings, the former had to seek individual permission on each occasion. Consequently, in 2000 the Speaker agreed to amalgamate the conditions for stills photography with those for televising the House. The same rules and conditions for the two now apply, but stills photographers must obtain the Speaker’s express permission before using flashes.
From 1854 onwards administrative services required in relation to the meetings of Parliament were devolved on to the Clerk of the House. There was a gradual accretion of such services in the nineteenth century (messengers, library, Hansard reporters, caterers) and into the twentieth century (executive secretaries, research units, security staff, out-of-Parliament secretaries and so on).
As early as 1868 the suggestion was made that the Speaker, perhaps as head of a commission of members, should be responsible for the legislative estimates.
Accordingly, the estimates for the House and the Legislative Council were, up to 1891, placed under the control of the respective presiding officers. In that year the House indicated that in future the estimates of expenditure for the legislature should be the responsibility of the Government
and after that date a Minister took charge of the legislative estimates, the first to do so being the Minister of Justice. In 1912, following a general reorganisation of the public service, a Minister was specifically designated to be responsible for drawing up and presenting to Parliament estimates of expenditure for the legislative service, though the two Speakers retained control of the staff employed in their respective departments. With the growth in size and diversity of legislative staff, the Speaker’s administrative control diminished and the Minister in charge of the department (which was known as the Legislative Department) came to exercise a control over staff which was similar in most respects to staff control in government departments. This arrangement was maintained after the Legislative Council was abolished, and lasted until 1985.
On 1 October 1985 a new parliamentary agency, the Parliamentary Service, was created.
The Parliamentary Service is principally responsible for providing administrative and support services to the House and to the members of the House and for administering the payment of funding entitlements provided for parliamentary purposes.
As well as providing services to members of Parliament, the Parliamentary Service provides services to the other offices and departments of state that occupy accommodation in the parliamentary complex – Office of the Clerk, Parliamentary Counsel Office, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Department of Internal Affairs (executive government support). The administrative and support services provided to the House and to members of Parliament and the funding entitlements for parliamentary purposes are subject to a triennial review by a committee appointed by the Speaker.
The General Manager of the Parliamentary Service is the administrative head of the Service.
The General Manager is responsible to the Speaker for carrying out the duties and functions of the service, for tendering advice to the Speaker and the Parliamentary Service Commission, for the general conduct of the service and for its efficient, effective and economical management.
The General Manager is also ex officio a member of the Parliamentary Corporation.
The General Manager is appointed for a term of five years by the Governor-General on the recommendation of a committee chaired by the Speaker and consisting of members of Parliament and the State Services Commissioner.
The Parliamentary Service is not a department of the public service and is not part of the executive government at all.
It does nevertheless administer a vote containing appropriations for outputs as if it were a government department. The responsible Minister for the vote is the Speaker.
The staff employed by the Parliamentary Service are engaged in providing building maintenance, library services, security, reception, attendant services, party research, secretarial services and general administration. The majority of staff are employees on short-term contracts and work directly for members or parties. Core staff are generally employed on a permanent basis.
Many of the personnel provisions that apply to staff employed in departments of the public service apply to employment in the Parliamentary Service.
Parliamentary Service Commission
The Parliamentary Service Commission is the body representing members which is responsible for advising and recommending to the Speaker the nature of the services to be provided to the House and its members and the criteria to be applied in allocating funding entitlements for parliamentary purposes.
Although it does not possess executive powers itself (these reside with the Speaker), it is the principal means by which consultations occur on the administrative and support services for Parliament. It provides a link between the Speaker’s statutory responsibilities and the ongoing interests of members in resource allocation.
No major change in these is made without thorough discussion at the Parliamentary Service Commission or before it has indicated its general agreement to the course proposed. It must be consulted before the Speaker issues a determination of the travel, accommodation, attendance and communications services to be provided to members.
The Speaker chairs the commission ex officio
and it consists of a number of other members of Parliament. The Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition (or members nominated by them) are automatically members of it. In addition, each recognised party is entitled to one member on the commission. Parties with 30 or more members which are not already represented on the commission through the Speaker, the Leader of the House or the Leader of the Opposition (which will usually be the case) are entitled to an additional member.
Apart from the Leader of the House, no Minister or parliamentary under-secretary can be a member of the commission.
Although it is not a select committee, service on the commission is regarded as service in the capacity of a member of Parliament.
The commission meets regularly once each month and on other occasions as required. The Speaker, as chairperson of the Parliamentary Service Commission and political head of the Parliamentary Service, inevitably plays a more involved role in the work of the Parliamentary Service than other members of the commission. The commission operates in a non-partisan way, endeavouring to ensure that services are delivered to members at the highest level and as efficiently as possible.
Its minutes or other papers are not normally released.
Written questions can be asked of the Speaker in respect of the Speaker’s responsibilities for the Parliamentary Service and as chairperson of the Parliamentary Service Commission, but a point of order relating to this role is not permitted.
The commission establishes committees as it sees fit.
It regularly establishes a House Committee, which decides the rules applicable to the use of members’ catering facilities and the level of service to be provided.
The Parliamentary Corporation was created in 2000, to facilitate transactions relevant to the duties of the Parliamentary Service and, in particular, to acquire, hold and dispose of interests in land and other assets.
The Parliamentary Corporation has wide powers to engage in transactions in respect of land and buildings.
The Bowen House lease is vested in the Parliamentary Corporation
and it must hold an interest in any land or premises before that land or premises can be added to the parliamentary precincts.
(See Chapter 11.)
The corporation consists of the Speaker (as chairperson), the General Manager and two members of the Parliamentary Service Commission appointed by the commission.
Soon after the first meeting of Parliament in 1854, members turned their attention to setting up a library. At first, library facilities were shared with the Auckland Provincial Council, which already had a collection of books, but in 1856 Parliament voted money for the purchase of further books and for the construction of a building in which to house them. The first librarian (who was also Clerk of the House) was appointed in 1858 but this post was not made into a separate full-time position until some time after Parliament and the library (then known as the General Assembly Library) moved to Wellington. For many years the General Assembly Library was the legal depository for all books published in New Zealand, a function performed by the National Library since 1985. However, there are still statutory obligations on local authorities to send copies of their annual plans to the Parliamentary Library.
In 1999 the House marked the centenary of the completion of the present Parliamentary Library building (the oldest building in the complex).
From 1966 to 1985, the General Assembly Library was part of the National Library of New Zealand. On 1 October 1985 it became part of the Parliamentary Service.
It was renamed the Parliamentary Library on 1 January 1987 to reflect the abolition of the term General Assembly.
The Parliamentary Library provides such library, information, research and reference services as are required by the General Manager for members of Parliament, officers of the House, officers of Parliament, staff of the Parliamentary Service and other staff employed within Parliament buildings.
The supply of works and broadcasts to members of Parliament by the Parliamentary Library does not breach any copyright subsisting in them.
The head of the library is the Parliamentary Librarian, who is an employee of the Parliamentary Service directly responsible to the General Manager.
The parliamentary catering and refreshment service is known as Bellamy’s. The original Bellamy was John Bellamy, a deputy housekeeper at the House of Commons who made the first catering arrangements for members within the Houses of Parliament in 1773. These services were continued after Bellamy’s death by his son.
John Bellamy’s family ceased to have any connection with the House of Commons shortly before the New Zealand Parliament was founded, but the family name was used in referring to the catering arrangements established for members of Parliament in New Zealand. The name “Catering Department” was officially adopted in place of “Bellamy’s” in 1945, but in 1951 the House reverted to the original and more popular name. At first, arrangements were made by outside caterers under contract for the session, but by 1880 a manager who combined catering duties with the position of custodian of the building was appointed, and meals and refreshments began to be provided in-house.
Meals are still provided in-house, but catering and refreshment services are now provided by a private catering firm under contract with the Parliamentary Service. Bellamy’s provides breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and operates a bar. Bellamy’s also caters for state and parliamentary luncheons and dinners and numerous other functions.